If you read our last blog post, you know how pleased we were with our hand-made, whole tree post and shiny, black mail box, ready to start receiving our mail from our rural delivery person.
We just put it in last week and our change of address has occurred. We went out yesterday about noon, ready to see if the red flag was up, then open the door and pull out our first mail delivered.
What we found instead of our red mail flag flying high was a smashed box with the red flag beaten off and laying in pieces on the ground.
Doug tried to hammer it back into shape, but it was too far gone — could not be resuscitated.
That feels bad.
At least six of our neighbors also lost their mail boxes.
Mailboxes are considered federal property, and federal law (Title 18, United States Code, Section 1705), makes it a crime to vandalize them (or to injure, deface or destroy any mail deposited in them). Violators can be fined up to $250,000, or imprisoned for up to three years, for each act of vandalism.
Have you had a similar experience as target of random violence?
What did you do about it?
I know you didn’t mean it that way, but the sentence, “At least six of our neighbors . . . ” makes it sound like misery loves company. Only on second thought does your intention come clear, that six other neighbors were also afflicted (as opposed to four or seven). Senseless violence is always sad. Sorry!
What a shame, after all your hard work. At least the base is still functional.. A number of years ago we were victims of “mailbox hockey”. In our not so rural neighborhood this happens occasionally. Our replacement was the least expensive one from the local hardware store. Its been quite a while now so maybe we can put up something a bit more decorative…Maybe not, young high schooler’s with cars are all the same..
That is so maddening because it’s so senseless. I’m so sorry you experienced this! I’m assuming that you reported it to your Postal Station. Hopefully someone will catch the rascals and make them pay for all the mail boxes. I know…not likely.
Yes, it seems like a very common form of vandalism. I wish they could have waited a few weeks. It’s very discouraging to have the mail box destroyed within days of being completed.
So glad that they didn’t destroy the base. This spring, I put up two handpainted signs (barnwood, with little flower decorations) in our roadside ditch, “Please, no mowing. Wildflowers growing.” Within a month or so, one was uprooted twice and the other uprooted once and the stake broken once. Both times we just put them back up. (Thankfully the signs themselves weren’t ruined.) They’ve been left alone since then. Sometimes I think there’s a certain element that just resents anything new and different – even if it’s nice – being added into the rural landscape.
On the plus side, the county road crews HAVE left our ditch unmowed this summer!
Good for you. The only thing to do is perservere, and sometimes it pays off. Anything that gets road crews to mow down less wildflowers is a good thing.
It’s difficult to understand the urge to mow everything down.
I have replaced ours three times. The last time was not from vandalism, but a motorist slipped off the road wiping out the post. I replaced the old box with a very large one, but I first took the smaller box that was still in decent condition from the car episode and riveted it inside the larger one. Then I filled the inch and a half space with mortar mix. I removed the smaller box door. The new box will take a blow with a baseball bat with no problem.
That’s a very enterprising and intriguing response, Woody. I’m going to put my mail box out “plain,” but if it goes down too quickly, I’ll be considering your technique. My only worry is that I will make someone who is demonstrably prone to violence target me further if I tick them off. It’s a puzzle – and not the fun kind.
That’s a pretty effective response. A 1/4″ steel plate the same size as the flat side of the mailbox, fastened securely to the inside right hand side, is equally effective. If anything, the elasticity of the steel puts even more rebound into a baseball bat, particularly an aluminum one. Enough invisibly plated boxes in an area tend to make box-smashing sufficiently “uncomfortable” to sometimes cut down on the damage.
We and our neighbors have had our mailboxes smashed many times. Some of our neighbors have put big metal t-post on each side of the mailbox hoping that someone trying to smash the box will break an arm or two.
The last time the mailboxes in our area were smashed, someone took large pieces of fire-wood and threw them at the boxes.
I, too, am sorry that this happen soon after moving into your new home.
Thanks for you comment, Judith. It does seem there is really no way to protect a mail box by the road. Any attempt to do so would just lead to escalation.
I’ve been aware of mail box vandalism and knew it might happen one of these days.
It did take our breath away to have it happen so soon.